This photo was taken in November 2019, before India detected its first Covid-19 case

Copyright AFP 2017-2021. All rights reserved.

A photo of top officials in the Indian capital Delhi has been shared in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts alongside a claim that it shows them placing a mask on a boy's face while they themselves are not wearing masks, despite rising Covid-19 cases. The claim is false: the original photo was taken in November 2019, when authorities distributed masks to students to protect them from air pollution. India declared its first coronavirus case in January 2020.

The photo was shared here on the verified Facebook page of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi unit spokesperson Virender Babbar on April 4, 2021.

“You are helping a kid wear a mask, but where is yours and Sisodia's masks? What all you do for photo-ops, Arvind Kejriwal ji. That's why we call you an advertisement person,” the Hindi-language caption reads.

Screenshot of the Facebook post taken and crossed by AFP on April 7, 2021

Arvind Kejriwal is Delhi’s chief minister and Sisodia refers to his deputy and cabinet colleague Manish Sisodia, who is seen wearing a blue shirt in the photo.

The photo has been shared amid a surge in Covid-19 cases in India's capital, as AFP reported here.

The photo was also shared here, here and here on Facebook, and here, here and here on Twitter alongside an identical claim.

However, the claim is false.

A reverse image search on Google found the same photo published here on November 1, 2019 in a report by India Today about worsening air quality in Delhi.

Screenshot of India Today's report with the same photo

“Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia distributed pollution masks among school students at a Delhi school on Friday [November 1, 2019],” says the caption of the photo credited to Indian news agency PTI.

Below is an image comparing screenshots of the photo published in the misleading Facebook post (L) and the photo published alongside the India Today report (R):

Image comparing screenshots

The same photo was also published by other Indian media The Print in a report on the same day about rising air pollution in Delhi and the local government’s scheme to distribute masks to students.

The video of the event was also uploaded to news agency ANI’s YouTube channel here on November 1, 2019 with the title, “Delhi CM Kejriwal distributes masks to schoolchildren.”

The first Covid-19 case in India was confirmed on January 30, 2020.

 

COVID-19